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Fundraiser starts to keep 'Bay Lights' display shining

In this Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, photo, lights are turned on along the western half of the Bay Bridge on Pier 14 in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

An online fundraising campaign kicked off Thursday to help keep the nightly Bay Lights art installation on the western span of the Bay Bridge shining until 2026.

The crowdfunding initiative through Crowdtilt aims to raise $1.2 million to go toward keeping the 25,000 white LED bulbs illuminated with an abstract pattern gliding across the cables from sundown to dawn.

The Bay Lights display was made by artist Leo Villareal and was first lit in March 2013 on the 1.8-mile span.

The project is slated to end in March 2015 unless Illuminate the Arts, the nonprofit behind the nightly light show, can raise $12 million to preserve the public artwork.

If the goal is not reached, there is only enough funding to keep the project operating until March 2016.

According to fundraiser organizers, it costs $30 a day to power the light display.

Illuminate the Arts raised $8.7 million to turn on the display in 2013.

The fundraising campaign will run for 45 days.

As of late Thursday morning, donors had already given more than $185,200 to the "Keep 'Em Lit" campaign.

More information about the campaign and donating can be found online at givelove.thebaylights.org/keep-em-lit-through-2026.
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